Winner of the 2019 Irish Students Amateur Open Championship, Darragh Flynn
Day 1 of the 2019 Irish Students Amateur Open saw the rain from Tuesday’s practice round clear and blue skies & sunshine take its place. There was a good links breeze to contend with in the morning which reflected in the scoring as Robert Abernethy was the only person to shot under par & sat on top of the leader board after round 1 on 1 under, 1 shot ahead of Adam Smith & Eoghan Collins who both shot level par 73s.
The second round saw conditions improve slightly at the beginning and most players began to settle into a good rhythm and start to play some excellent golf. 4 players were to go under par in the afternoon, despite a torrential rain shower sweeping the course late in the evening.
Darragh Flynn and Paul Conroy must have thought they had shot the lowest rounds of the day, coming in with a 2 under 71 & 3 under 70 respectively in difficult conditions. It wasn’t to be however as Ryan McNelis shot a course record equalling 68 to put aside a disappointing opening round and put himself back into contention.
The round of the day was to come, with Tom Dowdall of Woodbrook breaking the course record and shooting a fantastic 6 under par 67 to hold the overnight lead on 3 under after his 3 over par 76 earlier in the day.
Tom Dowdal, holder of the new course record (67) that included 8 birdies, 8 pars & only 2 bogeys
True Links conditions greeted the competitors for the final round of the Irish Students Amateur Open Championship in Donegal Golf Club, with heavy early morning rain coupled with traditional links winds meaning course management was key for those at the top of the leader board.
The leaders got their rounds underway just after 10am, with overnight leader Tom Dowdall (-3), Darragh Flynn (-1) & Eoghan Collins (level par) making up the final 3 ball. With winds getting stronger as the front 9 progressed, Dowdall & Flynn were the adapting to the conditions the best over the front 9 with both men making the turn level par & 1 under for the day respectively, to leave Dowdall still in the lead by 1 shot over Flynn with 9 holes left to play.
However, the back 9 had been playing tough all morning & it was on this 9 that would eventually decide the winner out of the 2 men who sat on top of the leader board. A bad start to the inward loop saw Dowdall drop shots on the 10th & 11th holes to see him fall behind Flynn, who started his 9 with pars on both holes meaning he was now leading by 4. This was to be the start of a steady run for the Maynooth University student who went on to par the next 4 holes as well, with Dowdall making a fine birdie on 12 to reduce the deficit, only to narrowly miss a putt to save par on 15 to give the shot gained back & leave Flynn with victory in his sights, 4 shots ahead with 3 holes left to play. Bogey on the Par 3 16th would have given Dowdall some hope but with both men parring the 17th & then making 6’s on the last it was to be Darragh Flynn’s day as he finished the tournament on +1, 2 shots ahead of Tom Dowdall who finished on +3.
In the team section of the event, Maynooth B were to get the better of Maynooth A, finishing on a combined 6 over par for the 3 days. The Maynooth B team was made up of David Brady, Paul Conroy & Darragh Flynn.
Maynooth (B), winners of the team prize for the week along with Donegal Golf Club Captain Colm Campbell